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Presented in affiliation with the Fredrickson Family Innovation Lab

Camera obscura is the Latin term for “dark room” and typically consists of any darkened space with a small aperture that emits into the interior a ray of sunlight illuminating a white surface such as a wall or screen. The set up or installation facilitates a luminous moving image of the exterior world in real time. It was a game-changing discovery, and a long list of legendary artists, scientists, and philosophers throughout the early modern era––including Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), and René Descartes (1596-1650)––have at one time or another experimented with this optical technique in the dark as an integral ingredient in revolutionizing their respective fields of inquiry. The explosion of such multifaceted research in the dark (or into the obscure) slowed down and came to a halt with the invention of photography in the early 19th century when the fugitive image in the camera obscura became fixed on photosensitive paper. In this artist talk, two of the most innovative cinematic practitioners of their generation, Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder, rediscover and even redefine this centuries-old optical device as a form of cinema at once ancient and contemporary.

Gibson + Recoder have exhibited their celebrated expanded cinema installations and projection performances since 2000. Their works are in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Memorial Art Gallery, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, and Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf. Artist residencies include the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency, U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellowship, Ucross Foundation, and Headlands Center for the Arts. From 2016-2019 they were featured artists and research associates of RESET THE APPARATUS! A Survey of the Photographic and the Filmic in Contemporary Art, hosted by the Department of Media Theory at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria. Lecturing appointments include a visiting faculty position in the Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts at the University of Colorado Boulder.  Gibson + Recoder live and work in New York. www.gibsonrecoder.com

Watch the artists’ short video of their camera obscuras at the Dyckman Farmhouse →
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